Sunday, August 19, 2007
Friday, August 17, 2007
Frugalness with Time:
Sometimes I get so caught up in looking for frugal solutions that I forget about the reality of life and my many committments. So, my tip for today is: Weigh the costs of being frugal in a certain area and decide for you what truly makes frugal sense in the areas of TIME as well as money.
For example: I tried making my own baby wipes a few years ago and found that not only was it more work for me, but I had to use 2-3 times as many wipes since they were thinner and fell apart more easily so I had to double them up when wiping. Trying to saw through the roll of paper towels made a paper-fuzzies mess everywhere and so I ended up pulling all the towels off the roll individually and then cutting them into thirds so they'd fit in my wipe box! I discovered that it's easier for me to just buy the cheapest Wal-Mart brand wipes in bulk. In reality, I'm saving much time and effort and the cost is about the same since the Wal-Mart wipes are more durable and I only need 1/3 as many per diaper change. Especially since my babies won't always use up enough wipes in a week before the homemade wipes "spoil." Some people have success with making them, but I'm not one of them!
It may be more expensive to go to the salon every few months, but I know from experience it is worth it if you want a short or layered cut that actually looks nice! It took a year for me to grow out my "mistakes" in this area! Frozen pizzas may not taste nearly as good as homemade, but if they are on a very good sale we will buy them once in a while and spend less than we would have for homemade pizzas and will have saved a lot of time too! Cloth diapers can be wonderful but only if you feel that the time spent doing extra changes, more soaking and laundry, hanging, and folding, etc. is worth the money saved. For those of us who have to purchase water for a cistern or share a community laundry room, it makes more sense to go with the Wal-Mart brand of diapers for $5 a week.
Because I live in a remote state, I have very little shopping options around. I shop the sales at the two grocery stores in town, shop the Family Dollar and thrift store and make-do until I can get to the nearest Wal-Mart (2 times per month). It was hard to pass up a Walgreen's deal last week that could have saved me $10 on cereals we love, but my husband decided that it wasn't worth the $8 in gas money to drive to Wal-Greens and the 3-4 hours worth of dragging two little kids on a long car ride and shopping trip just to save a couple bucks. So I stayed here and had an enjoyable day and bought some cereal here with a coupon. (You gals in the city are so blessed with all your stores!)
If you love to sew, then by all means, do it! But realize that buying a 30 cent shirt from the thrift store or finding clothes in the free boxes at yard sales or clearance racks in stores can be infinitely cheaper than sewing because of the time you need to take to shop for fabric, wash it, iron it, cut it, sew it, deal with sewing machine malfunctions, etc. and if you're not a great seamstress your product may turn out to be awful anyway and something you just turn into rags! Sewing is a great hobby of mine but I'm mindful that it's not "time-effective" unless I'm making something that is very simple and can't be purchased for less.
My main point is, since our time is eaten up constantly by so many things these days (husband's needs, small children's endless demands, church activities, relationships, home-keeping, errands, etc.) we should not only be concerned with where every penny is going, but also how much time we are spending on things, even things that could potentially save us money. If I can save both TIME and MONEY by doing it myself it's best! But if I want to save time, sometimes I need to splurge a little and if I want to save money sometimes I have to sacrifice a lot of time.
Some quick examples of things that save both time and money:
*automatic bill pay saves a stamp and saves you from having to remember to mail the bill, fill out the check, etc. every month (You need to be very responsible and careful if you use automatic bill pay!)
*Spending more time planning your shopping list and rearranging it according to the stores you are going to and the layout of the store so you can shop faster and save money (it's a proven fact that the longer you browse the more you spend).
*Bulk cooking-Whether you make a months worth at a time or just cook 5 lbs. of hamburger and freeze it in 1 lb. portions, bulk cooking can save you time in the kitchen and money too since a lot of bulk foods are cheaper. You're also saving energy if you re-heat using a microwave.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Dear Grandpa C.,
If I could write you one last letter to you, this is what it would say:
It was my priviledge to be your granddaughter. Cousin after cousin stood up and said this in the eulogy today and I, too, feel it with all my heart. When Jason stood up and said you were a Hero Grandfather it resonated deep within me. You were definitely a hero to me and the very definition of what a Grandfather and a Hero is. When Raine talked about all the memories of us at the cabin, it brought the best things to mind. She said she will always see "Wyoming" as Grandpa. How fitting for a rugged, but gentle, outdoorsman/cowboy/soldier/builder/fisherman.
I know it was your time to go and I am so glad you no longer have to sit looking out the window, wishing you were independent and active again. I'm glad you are reunited with Grandma after 21 years apart and the many loved ones who have gone before you. Even though I hated seeing your pain, I will miss bringing the kids to see you and your presence in our lives which has been a rock throughout my entire life. Even when you could no longer do much the last few months of your life, you could still love us, and smile, and enjoy our company, and tease the kids with your remote control dog! You loved Alathia's big brown eyes and always commented on them and you often held little Jeremiah, pleased that he would smile up at you. You were very positive and never complained in any situation. You had a mind as sharp as a tack until nearly the end of your life and I just know I got my love for reading from you (as well as my stubborness and my love for dessert!)I was never in doubt how you felt about me or anyone else in your family, because you weren't afraid to tell us that you loved us. I loved you so much and will cherish your memory throughout my lifetime. I will always be thankful that I had this time with you where we were back in Wyoming and you lived close enough for us to visit you often. In the blink of an eye, I'll be there at the Heavenly Hoedown. So build me a mansion right next to yours!
Until we meet again!
Monday, August 13, 2007
Sunday, August 12, 2007
When I'm starting to get discontent I have to remember the little farm house we first lived in when we moved here a couple of years back. There were mice (my deathliest thing I'm afraid of!) and it was ice cold in the winter and oh so lonely out there with only the cows and a long drive into town. We had much more work to do with chopping wood and stoking fires for heat and we had to ration water. Living in a clean, warm, mice-free apartment that's only 2 blocks from our bank and grocery store isn't so bad! While my neighbors can be overly "present" in our lives, I am thrilled when they come over bearing tamales or flautas or the latest thing they've cooked. I have gotten them to babysit on a moment's notice in a pinch and their company and their culture is refreshing. Who else's neighbors in America today have time to sit outside in the evenings and chat?
I have learned to be very disciplined about getting my laundry done at a certain time when the facilities aren't in use and I have learned to set boundaries and be strict with the neighbor kids which I know they respect me for. While we are outgrowing this tiny place, I think if I succeed at keeping this place clean and homey I can do it just about anywhere! I'm thankful that we have a space of our own, however humble, because it is more than most people have. We don't have to pay when the water heater breaks down or the plumbing goes awry, and we can use as much water as we want since it comes free with the rent. We have lived in a dark, dank, cold, and strangely decorated basement in a very rough town durning our summer as missionary interns and nothing could be more depressing than that! So, I will cheerfully enjoy these days here until God leads us to the next dwelling. I rejoice in the friendships I've made here that might make an eternal difference in my Mexican neighbor's lives and I am thankful to be sheltered from the hot western sun!